Useful Idiots

The pissed-off puffin paddles fellow journalists, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and an FBI monkey-spanker at U of A

"Absolutely not," she insisted before admitting, "When we were there, inmates would say things to us like, 'They don't treat us like this when you're not here.' Meaning the [detention] officers. I think they were trying to say in some way that the officers were treating them differently, that they were on better behavior, being nice to them or whatever. I really have no comment on that. Our job is to go in there and film what's happening and that's what we did."

Uh, "no comment"? Didn't it occur to Spence that Arpaio might've been playin' her like an oboe? Such willful blindness is either part of a Faustian bargain, or evidence of a gargantuan gullibility on the producer's part.

According to Spence, the Lockdown episode, which'll air later this year, will not remark upon the controversial nature of Tent City, Arpaio, or his treatment of inmates. See, Lockdown ain't no 60 Minutes. The Nat'l Geo show takes a neutral approach to the facilities it films, which is probably why Arpaio allowed it into his fiefdom in the first place, and why it had "very good access," in Spence's words.

Fred Harper

Hell's herons, this beak-bearer can't even get a callback from nimrods like Joe flack Sergeant Paul Chagolla, much less get the grand tour that Spence took! The sheriff's office routinely violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by denying New Times access to public records, throwing its reporters out of news conferences and seeking a felony indictment against this paper for publishing Joe's address online, though that info's available to anyone with Internet access.

Interestingly, Spence acknowledged that inmates self-segregate into race-based groups, like the Woods (whites), the Pisces (Mexicans), the Kinfolk (blacks). But she naively said she did not consider them to be "gangs," though as The Bird reported previously ("Sheriff Gangbanger," January 18) these gangs basically run Tent City through fear, intimidation, and beatdowns.

Also, guess what? "Spence" is a fake last name that producer Erica admitted she uses to shield her identity. You know, like from Tent City social clubs such as the Woods, the Pisces, and the Kinfolk.

The Nat'l Geo producer informed this ibis that Lockdown followed three individuals in the tents, including one on the chain gang whose life was supposedly transformed by a letter he received from his daughter.

Irony is . . . he wouldn't be getting that letter under Joe's new mail rules forbidding any nonlegal correspondence other than metered postcards. Was "Spence" planning to mention this in her show? She said no.

Hey, never let the truth get in the way of a good narrative, right? With "journalists" like these around, no wonder Arpaio continues to cling to power like some malevolent Third World despot.


Welcome to the police state, people. As this egret expected, our spineless Governor Janet Napolitano recently signed into law repressive, over-the-top DUI legislation mandating ignition Interlock devices for first offenders. That's right, drive home slightly tight, and you'll be blowing into some expensive hand-held device to start your vehicle for a whole friggin' year.

AZ was already using these Orwellian devices for repeat offenders, which is fine. They cost $75 a month to maintain, in addition to installation fees and all the other costs associated with getting convicted of driving with a B.A.C. (blood alcohol content) of .08. And guess what, you have to keep blowing into them periodically while you're driving, even after your car's started.

According to a study by California's DMV on the devices, "drivers installing an IID (ignition interlock device) had a risk of a subsequent crash that was 84 percent higher than drivers not installing an IID."

That is, you're so busy blowing into the damn things that you're not paying attention to the freakin' road.

Supporters of the new legislation cite a drop in auto fatalities in New Mexico after a similar law was passed there. But those stats are misleading. Even without a mandated Interlock for first offenders, some states experienced a similar or larger decrease in alcohol-related deaths for the same period.

But say the stats were relevant. Why not go a step further and require that all drivers have an IID on their car? Wouldn't that make roads much safer? If you think this winged H.L. Mencken's exaggerating, look no further than the Web site for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (, which states that in addition to mandating IIDs for all DUI offenders, MADD supports "the development of new sensor technology already under way that allows a vehicle to recognize if a driver is drunk, and to stop the driver from operating a vehicle."

It's like something right out of Steven Spielberg's dystopian flick Minority Report, and it shows that regarding MADD, we're dealing with a bunch of power-crazed, neo-Prohibitionist fanatics.

Sorry, but being popped for a DUI doesn't equate you with being a murderer. Much more serious charges will be leveled if you kill or maim somebody while plowed.

In fact, as former New Times scribe Bruce Rushton wrote in a cover story ("How to drink and drive and get away with it," September 2, 2004), academic studies have shown that drivers at a B.A.C. of .08 are less dangerous than drivers using cell phones.

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It is a shame that the writer of this article has not experenced a love one being killed by a Drunk Driver.

Jason Kenenrly
Jason Kenenrly

Paris Hilton is out of jail now, but almost a month ago, she was released by the LA county jail system to home arrest, without the approval of a judge. This generated much public outrage and eventually, an order for her to be taken back into custody. During the Paris Hilton ordeal, Sheriff Joe Arpaio extended an offer of the use of Phoenix's "Tent City" facility, supposedly in order to help with LA's severe overcrowding problem, but was turned down by Los Angeles.

New Times poked fun at Joe for his offer, but it is now known from her recent Larry King interview that the medical condition that Paris suffered from that caused her initial release was in fact claustrophobia. When first confined, Paris suffered from severe panic attacks, anxiety attacks, and had difficulty eating and sleeping.

In light of this new knowledge, how can Joe's respect for the medical privacy of Paris, and his offer of the Tent City facility , with its fresh air, open spaces, and desert vista, be considered anything other than an act of kindness, generosity, and compassion?

Eduardo Reyes
Eduardo Reyes

Stephen, those "useful idiots" don't impress me at all; people with murky purposes will always resource to murky means. Keep up the good job!


I think I love you, Stephen. Finally someone that writes what we all think. The self proclaimed non corrupt czar is so media hungry that its pathetic. The Paris Hilton offer was the epitome of lame. Bring her to Arizona so she can get beat to death at Tent City? Brilliant!

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